No Contact

Earlier this week, I removed this guy from the last social network in which we were connected. Frankly, I am not sure why he hadn’t done it himself, since he had clearly imposed the “no contact” rule on me. For those unfamiliar, this is the conventional wisdom that states that, after a breakup, the breakup-er should not respond to or initiate any further contact for a period of time or possibly ever with the breakup-ee. In my case, it seemed like social media was being used to take occasional cheap shots at me, but nothing I wrote to or about this person ever provoked a reply. Ultimately, the reason I blocked him was partly because I was angry with him, but partly because I didn’t trust myself to continue to resist the temptation to make very public nasty comments on his posts.

Now, before I continue with my thoughts on the no-contact rule in general, it’s worth including a disclaimer to my readers that, according to the person involved here there never was a “relationship” between us. To repeat: Seeing each other 3-4 times a week, communicating almost every day, heavy petting, goodnight kisses, saying “I love you,” talking about the future, and all those various times we slept together… This did not add up to a relationship. Yeah. So, take that with as many grains of salt as you’d like before I continue.

The “no contact” rule, as far as I can tell, is supposed to amount to a healthy way of breaking up with someone because it provides a clean break and removes the possibility of a relapse by exposure to the individual who initiated the breakup. I’ve experienced this with men a couple of times now, and guys basically think they’re doing you a favor by breaking up with you with no-contact. Yet, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this, you know it’s all a big lie. The “no contact” rule was not invented to help anyone recover from anything. It was invented so that someone who wants to break up with someone else can do so, and then run as far and as fast as possible without taking ownership or dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Sad kitty.

Will imposing “no contact” help someone get over you? Well, eventually they will, though I doubt whether the length of time involved is going to be any shorter. What it does ensure, though, is that you will be remembered was a coward. It ensures that the person you did this to will never be able to think of you and your time together without remembering the terrible, heartless way in which you chose to end it. Where is the honor in that? Where is the compassion? What I feel right now, as someone on the receiving end of this, is betrayal. What makes me the most angry about what D. did to me is not that he ended it because he didn’t want to advance the (non-?)relationship. I was already aware of that. I hadn’t asked him to make any immediate, great leap of commitment. I sat around for months (years, if we’re honest) trying to be patient while he figured out what he wanted. What made me mad is that he betrayed me. He lied to me by running off after saying he’d be around right before Christmas, he disrespected me by refusing for weeks to even reply to my attempts at communication, and when I managed to foil his brilliant “I’m going to ignore you indefinitely” plan because I happened to run into him at the bar when he was allegedly in a different state, he betrayed me by hurling insults and telling me he just didn’t want to deal with my issues.

Dear reader, even if you believe his account of the situation and that we were just friends, I submit this for your consideration: He was not even being a true friend to me by imposing the “no contact” rule, by knowingly hurting me, turning his back to me, and never to this day expressing any remorse for his behavior. Is that love? Is that friendship? Is that showing even a basic level of respect to another human being?

I don’t pretend to offer any alternative to the no-contact rule here. I would say that only once in my life have I had a relationship end in a way that was respectful and with a conversation in which I think the other person showed some dignity and humanity. That person is still a close friend of mine nearly 12 years later. There was definitely a rough and awkward patch for a little while after the breakup, but I now can look back and feel like I was respected. I have a high opinion of this person and how the situation was handled. How will I feel about D. in 12 years? It would be nice to know that he knows he hurt me. It would be nice to know that he understands he was a jerk and feels kind of bad about that. But how do you say those words to someone you have no contact with? Therein lies the rub.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou


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